GK, Marcel Lotka (Hertha Berlin, 20) – There’s not many U23 goalkeepers to pick from in the Bundesliga, but in just nine Bundesliga games, Lotka has established himself as Hertha Berlin’s No. 1 due to several injuries. The Poland youth international was Hertha’s No. 5 at the start of the season but has capitalised on injuries to Alexander Schwolow and Rune Jarstein. Of course, it’s difficult to judge given Hertha’s relegation battle and therefore the 18 goals that Lotka has conceded, but his two clean sheets in nine games has given Felix Magath’s side some hope. Lotka will join Borussia Dortmund in the summer, and it’s clear to see he has potential, especially in the shot-stopping department.
RB, Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen, 21) – Bayer Leverkusen have always been smart in their recruitment and Frimpong is just the latest example. The right-back spot had been a problem area for B04 in the past with Santiago Arias and Mitchell Weiser being their only recognised right-backs last season, both of whom got little playing time. Frimpong has come in and made that position his own. Explosive pace and a threat in the final third, the Dutchman has all the makings of an excellent full-back. Improve defensively and Frimpong may just become one of the Bundesliga’s best.
CB, Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg, 22) – The fact that Borussia Dortmund have snapped up Schlotterbeck to solve their defensive problems shows just how big an impact the 22-year-old has had on Freiburg this campaign. The central defender has missed just two Bundesliga matches – neither of which the ‘Breisgau Brasilianer’ won – and has been a rock at the heart of the back four. The weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Union Berlin may have all-but-scuppered Freiburg’s Champions League hopes, but a spot in European football is secure, while there is also a DFB Pokal final against RB Leipzig to come. Without Schlotterbeck, all of that will unlikely have been possible, and he still has a chance to go out on a high.
CB, Joško Gvardiol (RB Leipzig, 20) – The Croatian has adapted well to the Bundesliga since his move from Dinamo Zagreb. This season the 20-year-old central defender has achieved 29 appearances in which he has scored and assisted twice. A star in Croatian football, Gvardiol is clearly showing that he can play at the very top with Premier League side Chelsea already showing an interest. He can play in a back-three or four and can also operate at left-back, using his physical prowess to bully opposing attackers off the ball whilst using his pace and passing ability to kickstart RB Leipzig’s counter-attacks. Signed for just less than €20m, Gvardiol is already looking quite the defender.
LB, Piero Hincapié (Bayer Leverkusen, 20) – Predominantly a central-defender, Hincapié has deputised at left-back this season following injuries to Dutch duo Mitchel Bakker and Daley Sinkgraven. The Ecuador international has excellent ball-playing abilities whilst his reading of the game is superb. Signed for a little over €5m, Hincapié is already looking like an excellent acquisition for Gerardo Seoane.
DM, Anton Stach (Mainz 05, 23) – Averaging 3.55 interceptions per 90, Stach is in the 99th percentile across Europe’s top five leagues. Signed for €3.5m from Greuther Fürth last summer, the 23-year-old has settled well in Bo Svensson’s Mainz team, cementing himself as an integral player to his system. Stach’s performances have also resulted in his Germany debut under Hansi Flick, Stach’s performances meriting such an achievement. Stach, a tall and physical No. 6, will be a sought after defensive-midfielder if he continues to impress at the rate he’s doing so.
CM, Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund, 18) – Sometimes you just have to sit and admire Bellingham. At times, it’s hard to believe that he’s just 18 and with already more than a century of Bundesliga appearances to his name, the midfielder is a seasoned pro. The Englishman is arguably one of the first names on Marco Rose’s Borussia Dortmund team sheet. A drive from midfield, Bellingham has the winning mentality and technical skill to go with it. After another fabulous year, the only question surrounding Bellingham is how much better can he get?
RW, Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen, 22) -The Frenchman has cemented himself as a key player for Bayer Leverkusen in what is Gerardo Seoane’s first season as head coach of Die Werkself. With 13 goals and 12 assists in 31 Bundesliga games this season, Diaby is enjoying by far his best Bundesliga season in what is a young career. Playing predominantly on the right, the 22-year-old has developed an eye for goal whilst his decision making in the final-third has improved significantly in comparison to last season. Factor in his goal contributions and you have one of the Bundesliga’s most dangerous attackers.
AM, Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen, 19) – Winner of the 2020 Fritz Walter U17 award, given to the most promising youngsters in German football, Wirtz has established himself as a generational talent. The 19-year-old registered 10 goals and 14 assists in 31 games in all competitions for Bayer Leverkusen before being ruled out for the season with an ACL injury sustained in the Rheinderby against FC Köln in March. Wirtz is Bayer Leverkusen’s midfield maestro and has often showcased his exquisite first touch, silky dribbling and his goalscoring abilities. His creative abilities has also seen Wirtz assist 22 goals in 78 games for Bayer Leverkusen. Heralded as one of the best talents in football, we’ll all be hoping he can make a full recovery.
LW, Patrick Wimmer (Arminia Bielefeld, 20) – In his first Bundesliga season, the tricky Wimmer has instantly become an exciting player to watch. According to FBRef.com, no player has dribbled past more opponents than he has, with his direct movement and skill making him a standout for relegation threatened side Arminia Bielefeld. Playing on the flanks, he has also shown his versatility in playing upfront, with his defensive pressure being among the best in his position. With a summer move to Wolfsburg already confirmed, he already looks like he’ll be a household name in the league, especially if he can improve his goal contribution moving forward.
ST, Jonathan Burkardt (Mainz 05, 21) – After demonstrating plenty of potential, particularly with the German national youth teams, dynamic young forward Burkardt finally endured his breakout season. The 21-year-old is a relentless striker who is finally adding end product to his game with 14 goal contributions in the league and counting. Burkardt is the young star of Bo Svensson’s lively Mainz side and topped off another impressive performance with a goal against Bayern Munich in the recent shock 3-1 win. A raw talent who plays to his physical strengths while also displaying technical prowess, Burkardt has excelled this season and is knocking on the door to receive his first senior cap for Germany.